Place-Based Learning

School Programs

We offer age-appropriate farm and forest programs, and service-learning opportunities for Pre-K through college.

We are able to accommodate teacher-defined-objectives, aligned with Next Generation Science Standards, Common Core State Standards, and New York State Learning Standards for Science.

TEACHERS: We are now scheduling field trips and group programs for the 2024 Spring and Fall seasons!

Unless otherwise noted, all programs are from 9:30-11:30 am or 12:30-2:30 pm, with the option of having an independent lunchtime at the Sap House. We will work with groups who need to make specific arrangements for scheduling or transportation restrictions. 

Programs are available to groups and classes pre-K through high school, with minor adaptations in activities and content based on the group’s age and ability. Our maximum group size for programs is 30 students, with a minimum of 1 chaperone per 10 students and no more than 2 chaperones per 10 students (with the exception of para-educators for individual students). If you have a class or students with specific needs or adjustments, we’re happy to discuss possible adaptations or accommodations with you — contact us at, or 802-394-2578.  


For groups of up to 15 students or participants, a 2-hour program is $75. For every additional student or participant over 15, there is an additional $5 charge. This will be based on your established group size determined before the program; no reduction in cost will be issued due to any day-of absences or changes in group size. An invoice will be sent with the Program Confirmation, and must be paid by mail before the scheduled program or by check on the day of the program.

Ready to request a program?

• Read below for our program offerings, and then click HERE to submit a request form for a program for your group.

• You will receive a program confirmation and invoice once your request is approved and scheduled.

• Review the following documents in order to be prepared for your group’s arrival and program:

Group Program Information Packet

Parent Letter

Group Program Packing List

Arrival Map


Contact us at 802-394-2578 with questions on programming, tuition and scheduling.


Sap to Syrup — Available during Mud Season (March 4 – April 26) 

Follow the path of maple syrup production from the sun to our hillside “sugarbush” of maple trees to our Sap House where we boil sap into syrup.

Farm Connections — Available Spring & Fall (March 4-June 7   &/or  September 2- October 28)

What is a farm? Why are farms important? What does it mean to “manage” the land? Who is on the farm at Merck Forest? Come learn and explore these questions through an interactive guided walk through Merck Forest’s 62 acre farm. Meet the animals, visit the pastures and barns, and participate in some seasonal farm activities.  

Watersheds — Available Spring & Fall (March 4-June 7   &/or  September 2- October 28)

Merck Forest & Farmland Center sits at the top of not one, but two different watersheds.  From this exciting landscape, learn about watersheds and the water cycle, follow the path of water through the ecosystem, and get a chance to explore some of the habitats it creates along the way (ponds, streams, and more) to the Atlantic Ocean in our very own region. 

Tree to Timber — Available Spring & Fall (March 4- June 7  &/or  September 2- October 28)

Trees are an extremely important part of our ecosystem and our daily lives. Come along as we explore the role of trees in the forest, and how we balance that vital role with our use of trees as a resource. How are trees harvested sustainably? How do we turn them into timber and building material? How is wood ingrained (hah!) in our lives?

Reading the Forest — Available Spring & Fall (March 4-June 7  &/or  September 2- October 28)

Put on your tree sleuthing hat, and join us as we explore the forest at Merck Forest. We’ll learn about the life cycle and anatomy of trees, which types of trees are found in our region and how to identify them, and what we can learn about a landscape and its history by looking at trees. 

Pollinators — Available Spring & Fall (March 4- June 7  &/or   September 2- October 28)

What is a pollinator? What do pollinators do? How do humans and pollinators impact each other? We will walk through the pollinator meadows at Merck Forest and look closely for the small insects doing a big job. 

*Spring focus: Learn about the special early bloomers at Merck Forest, spring ephemerals, and experience the diversity of pollinators found at Merck Forest. 

*Fall focus: Monarch butterflies and migration! We will learn about their life cycles and habitats, what foods in our regional and global food system rely on pollinators, and why they are so important to our survival. 

Invasive Species (3 hrs, 4th-12th grade only) — Available Spring & Fall (March 4-June 7  &/or  September 2- October 28)

In this 9am-12pm interactive and engaging program, students will learn about the difference between native and non-native species, as well as the adaptations and factors that can make a non-native species an invasive species. Through games, some service learning, and a visit to our American Chestnut Tree plantation, we’ll get a chance to see some real examples of invasives at Merck Forest, the impact that invasives can have on ecosystems, and what we can do to prevent the spread of invasives.